Landlords taking action on fire safety: survey

Posted on 26 Jul 2017

More than half the population of UK landlords have taken measures to check the fire safety of their buy-to-let properties in the wake of the Grenfell Tower fire.

A survey of 500 private landlords found that a third (32%) had checked their fire alarms, and 15% had instructed a professional to carry out a fire risk assessment.

Landlords of houses in multiple occupancy (HMO) and flats were amongst the most proactive over last four weeks, with fire alarm checks being conducted in 50% of HMO properties and 35% of flats. These properties also saw a higher than average number of professional checks, with 39% of HMO and 22% of flats being visited for professional assessments.

Other measures taken by landlords included checking construction materials and contacting the freeholder regarding fire safety checks.  17% of landlords also said that they had installed a carbon monoxide alarm.

The survey, carried out on behalf of Simple Landlords Insurance, was conducted a month after the Grenfell Tower fire in London.

Perhaps unsurprisingly with Grenfell on their doorstep, landlords in London were the most responsive of all the geographic regions polled. Some 72% reported having taken at least one action following the fire, compared with just a third of landlords in Wales.

Gas safety

One area of concern uncovered by the survey, however, was gas safety.  Whilst every landlord questioned said they had conducted a gas safety inspection at their property, only 83% said that it had happened within the last 12 months. Landlords are required by law to have a Gas Safe-registered engineer check all gas appliances at least once a year. The majority of the remaining landlords (11%) fell between the 12 and 18-month bracket - and an alarming 4% said it had been more than three years since their last gas safety inspection.

Alex Huntley, Head of Operations at Simple Landlords Insurance said: “Fire safety is clearly on the agenda for landlords in the UK, with a little over half taking positive action in the last month alone. Landlords have a legal obligation to protect tenants under fire safety regulations, particularly those with large or shared properties. 

“Gas safety is also of paramount importance, and although on the whole the survey has shown a positive and responsible response from landlords, they must understand their obligations; fire and gas safety must never be left to chance.”

Simple has published a guide to fire safety procedures for landlords, which is available at https://www.simplelandlordsinsurance.com/landlord-hub/guides/the-simple-guide-to-fire-safety-procedures